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'Baby Bootlegger’ by John Elwell
A magnificent and completely unique sculptural aluminium model of the motorboat ‘Baby Bootlegger’ in Elwell’s signature style of hand formed aluminium panels riveted over a space frame, with the imbedded ‘G5’ registration marking in highly polished contrasting brass, cockpit instrumentation, and US yacht ensign to the rear, complete with fixed hardwood plinth and silver plaque, signed JOHN ELWELL, 1/1 2010.
Length overall: 51 inches (130 cms).
‘Baby Bootlegger’, designed by George Crouch, powered by a Hispano-Suiza aero-engine and built in 1924 at the staggering cost of $34,000 by Henry B. Nevins yard in City Island, New York, was the most advanced high-performance speedboat of the age, with a top speed of over 70 mph. The property of Caleb Bragg, noted Wall Street player and passionate sportsman, who set early speed records on land and in the air (he was the 70th licensed pilot in the US) before directing his attention to the Long Island Gold Cup contest on water. In the 1925 series of races, Bragg triumphed, taking all the glittering prizes on the island. Described today as the ‘Bugatti Royale’ of race boats, ‘Baby Bootlegger’ is considered the most beautiful wooden boat ever made.